NHL Game Summary - Calgary at Minnesota
(Friday, April 3rd)
Final Score: Minnesota 4, Calgary 0
St. Paul, MN (Sports Network) - Niklas Backstrom made 27 saves for his eighth shutout of the season to help the Minnesota Wild give their playoff hopes a boost with a 4-0 win over the Calgary Flames.
Marian Gaborik, Owen Nolan, Andrew Brunette and Cal Clutterbuck each had a goal for the Wild, who have alternated wins and losses over the last nine games.
Minnesota now has 83 points on the season and sits in the 10th spot in the Western Conference, one behind Nashville and two behind St. Louis, with four games to play.
"Against a team like Calgary a win like this is a big boost," said Minnesota defenseman Nick Schultz. "They are a playoff team and are a team we haven't had a lot of success against. We needed the effort we had tonight to beat them."
Miikka Kiprusoff was charged with all four goals on 28 shots for the Flames, who have dropped four of their last six games.
Calgary has already clinched a playoff spot, but the team is tied with Vancouver for first place in the Northwest Division and the Canucks have a game in hand on the Flames.
"Right from the start of the game we knew it would be tough," said Calgary forward Jarome Iginla. "To get one so quick was a big boost for them being at home in front of their own crowd. They're such a good defensive team, especially when you get behind."
Minnesota got on the board courtesy of the power play just 4:45 into the game as Brunette tipped in a shot by Marek Zidlicky at the left side.
The Wild made it a 2-0 game just 29 seconds later on Clutterbuck's ninth goal of the season.
At the 14:10 mark, Minnesota took a 3-0 lead as Nolan's slap shot from the top of the right circle got between the left arm and body of Kiprusoff for his 24th goal of the season.
Backstrom stopped all nine shots he faced in the first period.
Neither side got on the board in the second period as Backstrom stopped 10 shots and Kiprusoff countered with eight saves.
The Wild sealed the win with 5:17 to play as James Sheppard skated behind the net with the puck and from the left side backhanded it to the left circle where Gaborik one-timed it between the left post and right skate of Kiprusoff.
Minnesota plays at Detroit on Sunday...Calgary hosts Los Angeles on Monday...Calgary has won the previous five games against Minnesota this season...Minnesota went 1-for-4 on the power play while Calgary failed on all five of its chances...Backstrom has 17 shutouts in his career.
04/03 23:12:17 ET